We had decided to get up early and get to Clingman's Dome for a sunrise. Well... we changed our minds once the alarm went off! So, back to bed until the VERY LATE hour of 8:00 (that's late for us). We still managed to get there before a lot of the crowds and secured a parking spot near the trail to the Dome. For this hike, we decided to hike on the Appalachian Trail (or Clingmans Dome Bypass Trail). The views were supposedly much better and an even bigger benefit was that there were practically no crowds. During the fall season, it's truly a sport to find places that you can still see a beautiful fall view but not be elbowed and jostled. We were doing great on that count so far, and this hike was no exception. It was approximately the same distance from the parking lot to the tower; it seemed to me that the hike was less straight uphill and more enjoyable; and the views were incredible!! From now on if I go up to the Dome, it will be via the Bypass Trail!!